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Grieving Over Fiction & Fantasy | Special 100th Epsiode

I bring you this special 100th episode. It’s how I used the art and process of podcasting to heal a recent wound.

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Alexander, The Podcaster’s Coach

I haven’t connected with a friend since Christmas. We were over-due to connect and I was heading toward his neighborhood one day. He always makes time to have a coffee for me. I’ve known him for 12-13 years.

I call him. His phone is out of service. It’s happened one time before. He has a crummy job and goes through these periods of no work. He lost his phone before, but managed to get it back. He called me when it happened. This time around, he did not give me a heads up. I waited for a week. Nothing.

Fed up of calling a phone number that was invalid, I went to his apartment. No luck. There was mail in his mailbox. I wrote a note and stuffed it in. What’s going on? Give me a call.

Another week, nothing.

I leave messages at the place where I think he works, but is not in the directory. I find out who the property owner of his building is and leave messages…..more like pleas. Do you have any info. Somebody feels sorry for me and calls me back. He moved a couple of weeks ago. So he hasn’t died. I am suppose to be his emergency contact. I am relieved, but I have no way to reach him. We had no mutual friends. He is a single city dweller and I am a family man in the sub-burbs.

Two weeks I worried, almost always assuming the worst. When I found out he moved, I was mad. Why isn’t he connecting with me. I have sent emails. He can check his email at the library. Why? What is wrong.

Then the pain set in. He loved his neighborhood. He had been living in his apartment for about 20 years. He’ll never afford his neighborhood now. He’s almost 60. He’s slower. He’s been having major allergy issues. Last time I visited, we walked to the coffee shop and he had to stop midway to catch his breath.

Where is he? Is he on the street? Is he sick? Did he lose his job? No one will hire him. He’s too old. How can he get by? He has no family. What’s happened? Why?

On and on this went inside my head. My body would follow feeling grief. I was in grieving over circumstances that I did not have information on. Grief became my meditation practice. I was totally fine when it was out of mind, but when it came back, I struggled. The grief sucked my energy and I was sad. Quite frankly, I was sick of myself. I wanted to get out of myself. I just wanted a break.

I have not touched booze in 3 months, but it was the only solution to escape myself. 4 beers and a movie. My children stayed away, without me even asking, and I had a few hours of forgetting.

But of course, I would pay for it. Even thought it was only 4 beers, it completely ruined my sleep. My body detests alcohol. It fights it. While I try to sleep, my body is going crazy working the alcohol out. It keeps me up. I wake up, not rested, and therefore unproductive. Thank god for Sundays.

My focused moved from my lost friend to my stupidity.

When Monday came around, I began to realize that I was grieving over fiction. I had created various negative situations regarding my lost friend. I knew 2 things only – his phone number does not work and he moved. I know nothing else.

I formed these attachments. I became attached to the melancholy. I became attached to grief. I became especially attached to myself – how dare he not call me? Am I not his friend?! Then I became attached to an old coping mechanism, beer, that I knew stopped working. It’s no good, if the end result is bad. The end result being a full day of being tired and not well rested, not to mention being harmful to this vehicle called my body.

Let me tell you something about this experience, and I want you to think about it. Do you do this too? I grieved over fantasy. I went with worse case scenario and experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I do not have a crystal ball. Neither do you. If you are going to play this game of having all of the answers, then at least keep it positive, and of course, realistic. If you are upset over something right now that you don’t have all the facts to, you are making yourself miserable for nothing.

I could have chose to say to myself, well, my friend seems like he’s gotten into a financial pickle. He probably feels embarrassed about it and would prefer to connect with me when he is able to improve his situation. I could have taken all of those moments of grief that came out of a fantasy and applied the energy into something useful, like my family or my business. Catch yourself. Catch yourself right now. Don’t do this.

And then there is one other little thing. Don’t take any relationship for granted. Life is crazy. People come and people go. We lose people along this journey. Make the moments that you have for the people you care for count.

If you want to transform your life today, you will focus on the people presently in your life and you will practice love and gratitude for the moments that you have. Do this with everyone. You don’t have to tell them if you don’t want to. Feel gratitude in every meeting that you have. Of course, grieve if you have the facts, of course, but resist the negative mind that tries to fill in the gaps. Shake hands more. Hug more. Let people know that you appreciate them. Love yourself in the process too. No matter how many, You are blessed in the relationships you have.

Your mind is loves the past and the future. It changes the past all of the time, and it really loves the future – the creativity to create a future. A positive, but especially a negative one.
You’ll find yourself there often, and it may bring you down, but breathe, think and feel your breath inside and outside of your body, and get present. Practice presence, everyday. Hold on to people in the present. Let them go when the time is appropriate. Fell blessed that you have this day.